An illegal immigrant became separated from his group one day while crossing the border in Arizona. After spending two days in the desert he finally, out of water, collapsed due to dehydration. After accepting his fate, hope was reignited when he saw a group of hikers heading his way.
The group was from a local town and the entire group happened to be composed of Christians. As the group was spread out, each approached the Mexican one by one.
The first Christian, who was the intellectual of the group, came up to the Mexican and realized the Mexican was dehydrated. “Men who go days without water die of dehydration. This man has gone days without water. Therefore, this man will die.” Upon realizing this, the Christian took pity on the man. “People who are dehydrated are so because they lack information on proper hydration. This man is dehydrated. Therefore, he lacks proper information on hydration.” After smiling, the Christian gave the Mexican a 500-page book on proper hydration and walked away.
The second Christian, who tended to be the political crusader of the group, came upon the Mexican and was immediately outraged. “How dare you come into my country illegally! God told us in Romans to obey our governments. How are you obeying our government by coming over illegally?” The Mexican man simply looked up at the Christian and, in a thick accent, said, “Water?” The Christian man was irate. “Water?! Water?! You want to come over and use AMERICA’S water?! How about I show you what the Second Amendment is all about?! You’re lucky I’m a Christian am-ee-go.” With that, he stormed off away from the dying Mexican.
The third Christian, who was the most spiritual of the group (at least according to him), came upon the Mexican and immediately took pity on the man’s soul. He began to rummage through his backpack full of tracts in multiple languages in order to find a Spanish tract. When he found it, he began to read it to the Mexican man in his broken Spanish:
“Accept-a-ras el cam-in-o ah salva-key-on day Dee-ose?”
The Mexican man simply looked up and in his thick accent asked for water. “My friend, I bring you the water of life!” the Christian said. “Don’t you want to take a drink from the well of life so that your soul may never thirst again? Why long for water that only helps your mortal body? Why not drink water that helps your soul?” With that, the Mexican gave up hope and put his head back on the ground, waiting for death. The Christian, not understanding what was going on, began to shout so he would be heard. “Friend, death is at your door! Don’t let him in unless Jesus is your house guest! Will you accept Christ? Will you say the Sinner’s Prayer with me?” But his shouting was to no avail. The Christian thought that the Mexican must be one of those atheists, or a Democrat, and moved on hoping to find another lost and tormented soul.
The fourth Christian, who claimed to be a new type of Christian, ran to the man and embraced him. He mourned for the lack of love the Mexican had been shown. He took off his thick-rimmed designer glasses to wipe the tears from his eyes. “People must know about your struggle!” he said as he took pictures of the man. He uploaded those pictures to his Facebook and then updated his status, tweeted, and blogged “Where are the Christians to help this man?” His picture had 13 likes and two comments, one read, “Where’s Pat Robertson. Oh, that’s right, pimping Christianity instead of helping this man!” and another reading, “Ur rly gud at makin me think! LOL” The Christian then left to help raise awareness of this man’s plight and the plight of illegal immigrants all along the desert.
The final Christian, who tended to view himself as progressive, angrily walked toward the Mexican. He was not angry with the Mexican, but at how the system had failed the Mexican. “This is a perfect example of what a Capitalistic society breeds. By enforcing the artificial borders, we have prohibited this man from being liberated from the bourgeois of this world!” The Mexican man, running out of strength, muttered that he wanted water. “Oh, you…uh…want water? You want my water? Well…I…I’ll have the State get you some! Yes, that’s what I’ll do! It’s not fair that the rich keep their Dasani water held up in a refrigerator while poor people like you suffer without water! Those hypocrites!” When the Mexican didn’t respond with a “thank you” or an “I agree,” the progressive Christian assumed that he must be one of those conservative Christians, or a Republican. After the Christian took a swig of his bottled water, he walked back to town to help organize a protest against the local water bottling company for letting the Mexican man in the desert suffer from dehydration.
After all the Christians had left, the Mexican man quickly lost hope and began to slowly fade. Just then, another Christian walked up to the Mexican. This Christian had not been in the group because everyone in the group had problems with him. The intellectual didn’t like the Christian because the Christian believed in a religion for the masses rather than the intellectual elite. The political crusader didn’t like the Christian because he was too lenient on some political issues and didn’t always vote Republican. The spiritual man had problems with the Christian because he would always help the physical needs of the poor even if the poor rejected Christ. The new type of Christian didn’t like this particular Christian because he seemed to traditional and orthodox, unwilling to give up certain beliefs in order to fit in within society. The progressive Christian didn’t like this Christian because he was too theologically orthodox, or as the progressive Christian would often say, “The man believes in miracles! It’s a well established fact that anyone who believes in miracles is credulous because they believe in miracles! What about class struggle?”
The Christian man knelt down and put his hand under the Mexican. He slowly gave small sips of water to the Mexican. He called for an ambulance and followed the Mexican to the hospital. When he got there, he gave the administration his billing address and told them to send all medical bills his way.
Obviously, any decent human being would help the man. My point in all of this is that we become so involved in promoting our ideas, ideologies, and versions of Christianity that we often ignore the world. We become inconsistent in our Christianity. While I believe we must stand on the truth of Christ, standing is not enough; we must act on this truth as well.
Also, we become so focused on one aspect of Christianity that we tend to forget the big picture, or we become so focused on one aspect that we change the entire big picture of Christianity. The liberation theologian spent so much time focusing on the liberation promised within the Bible that he began to change the narrative of the Gospel into something about class struggle. The evangelist began to focus so much on Heaven and Hell that he began to change the narrative of the Gospel into something about how what is eternal is all that matters and ignoring the plights of this world as “spiritual struggles” and nothing more.
In doing these things, it affects how we see the world and how we act in the world. When that occurs, we have abandoned the Christian faith, regardless of if we’re conservative, liberal, or anything in between.